The Suzuki S-Presso’s arrival in South Africa was inauspicious, coinciding because it did with that Covid-19. Our luggage had been half-packed and our flights booked for the media launch in Cape City earlier than it turned clear that it needed to be referred to as off.
Just some hours later, our president introduced we might be coming into a nationwide lockdown.
Suzuki went forward with a digital launch (fairly the novelty again within the days of early 2020) and delivered media packs to our houses — identify tags and all the pieces else that had already been printed out. Nothing, in fact, could possibly be accomplished in regards to the actuality that nobody was trying to purchase a automobile. Financial uncertainty apart, the one place anybody needed to go throughout these weeks of exhausting lockdown was to the outlets and again.
Not the grandest of entrances, then. However earlier than you start to really feel too sorry for Suzuki, know that there’s probability the S-Presso finds some gross sales serendipity on the lengthy street forward. That very same virus that crashed the launch social gathering has additionally had the fairly extra critical aspect impact of devastating the economic system. With wallets set to be strapped tighter than ever earlier than, it’s solely logical to count on that a budget vehicles phase might be a bustling market for the foreseeable future.
Even earlier than our ordeal of the final six-odd months, the S-Presso had been charged with undercutting the competitors, despatched to rival the more and more standard Renault Kwid and Datsun Go together with a R139 900 beginning worth. Did its (awkward) touchdown place it on high of the pile? Maybe.
Virtually all the pieces about this automobile is divisive, starting proper from the styling. From sure angles it’s glossy, horny even, with a tougher squint of the attention. However slant your consideration to the left and the clunkier, boxier facets can’t be unseen. The hubcap-laden wheels are significantly off-putting: the physique rises excessive above the small issues as if it had been completely cruising on 4 biscuit spares.
The cabin equally straddles these strains of subjectivity. To some tastes this might be very nice; not a lot for others. On the centre of the sprint is a cylindrical define that encloses each the infotainment display screen and the digital speedometer — yup, borrowing from the design of the mid-2000s Toyota Yaris, the world in entrance of you behind the steering wheel is naked. The remainder of the inside is neat with a number of splashes of color that match the surface (brilliant orange, in our case). We may discuss in regards to the low-cost plastics however, given the value level, that’s probably not a dialog right here.
Underneath the hood, the S-Presso hides a 1.0-litre three-cylinder petrol engine that produces 50kW of energy and 90Nm torque. Given the sunshine body you’re in, the output is greater than adequate to nip spherical on again roads and thru metropolis visitors. Taking it to the freeway, nonetheless, exposes its struggles. The automobile begins squealing when requested to go at greater than 120km/h and even sustaining that velocity for an extended distance will produce a continuing high-rev symphony.
The payoff for that timidity is a ridiculous gas economic system of a quoted 4.9-litres/100km. Sticking to the sensible aspect of issues, the S-Presso will even seat buddies and baggage way more comfortably than its opponents.
For what the S-Presso is making an attempt to be there’s not a lot to dislike about it. And but it’s not one thing you’d simply name nice both.
Suzuki thrives when it simplifies the essence of a given phase to supply one thing pure and thrilling — assume the Vitara or the Swift Sport. That very same magic simply isn’t current right here.
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